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Journal American Rhododendron Society

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Dr. Glen Jamieson ars.editor@gmail.com


Volume 45, Number 2
Spring 1991

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Meerkerk Test Garden Rates Hybrids
Pat Halligan
Freeland, Washington

Introduction
The past year saw fifty-five rhododendron hybrids successfully complete their term of testing at the Meerkerk Hybrid Test Garden at Whidbey Island in Washington. The rating system remains essentially unchanged from that used in the previous article (Halligan, 1989).
        Here is an explanation of the format used for rating in this article using 'Avondale' as a sample:
'Avondale' (Hybrid name)
3.1 / 3.5 / 3.3 (Flowering season rating, scale 1 (unacceptable) to 5 (outstanding), for truss / foliage / overall.)
Fairly dense foliage (Vegetative description.)
Vegetative rating 3 (Summer vegetative rating, scale 1 (unacceptable) to 5 (outstanding), for foliage and plant form.)
Winter rating 4/5 (Rating for foliage appearance in below freezing temperatures (here 28 F), scale 5 (no effect) to 1 (severe) for droop and roll of leaves.)
        This year's outstanding plants were 'Hallelujah', A.E., N.W., an exceptionally symmetrical mound of dark green leaves of unusual but very uniform shape; 'Markeeta's Prize', a truly outstanding large red which takes over after 'Taurus', A.E., N.W., fades; and 'Bruce Brechtbill', a sport of old standard, 'Unique'.
        Of these, 'Bruce Brechtbill' won "Meerkerk Hybrid of the Year" honors for 1990. It makes one pause to realize that this plant, which is essentially the same as the old classic 'Unique', would overshadow so many recent hybrids. The foliage and plant habit are identical to 'Unique', while the flowers are pink instead of cream.
        Many people are involved in the running of the Meerkerk Hybrid Test Garden, including faithful Meerkerk volunteers who come to work in the garden many times each year, and members of the ratings committee: Hank Engman, Don and Lilian Milliken, Shirley and Gordon Barnes, Jim Ramsey, Elsie Watson, Yasmin Workman, Jeannine Smith, Don Allen, Arlene Cook, Wes Tarpley, Loyd and Eddie Newcomb, Lew Naddy, Edwin Yoneoka, Ken Lahon, George Muller and Ralph Doty. In addition, Bill Heller and Gwen Bell provided slides for this article. Greg Kesterson was president of the Northwest Hybridizers' Group, the organization overseeing the operation of the test garden as well as one of the raters.

The Ratings
'Avondale' 3.1 / 3.5 / 3.3 Fairly dense foliage shows stems due to long new growth, on a rather symmetrical rounded plant. Average green leaves have acceptable contour, with a slight wave or twist. Leaves of widely differing sizes, arranged in an acceptable pattern, are prone to spotting. Three flushes. Vegetative rating 3. Winter rating 4/5.
'Barbara Houston' 3.0 / 2.2 / 2.6 Open foliage on fairly irregular upright plant shows stems due to irregularity, stiffly ascending branches and the tendency to form a trunk. Slightly full medium green leaves have an attractive contour. Leaf placement varies by year: some years leaves are very attractively placed, other years not. Old leaves tend to hang downward. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 2. Winter rating 5/5.
'Black Sport' (not registered) 3.1 / 3.4 / 3.3 Plant starts out irregular, but becomes a dense, symmetrical rounded plant. Twisted contour of average green leaves detracts from plant. Leaves tend to be widely spaced on long new growths and haphazardly placed. Four flushes. Vegetative rating 3. Winter rating 5/5.
'Blue Jay' 3.3 / 3.0 / 3.3 Open, fairly irregular plant of equal height and spread. Yellowish twisted and wavy leaves, irregular in contour and placement, detract from appearance. Four flushes. Vegetative rating 2. Winter rating 4/5.
'Britalier' (not registered) 3.4 / 3.4/ 3.3 Fairly dense and symmetrical broad plant shows some stems through irregularities. Dull, light yellow, slightly wavy and twisted leaves have acceptable contour. Leaf placement varies by year, is sometimes good, sometimes not. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 2. Winter rating 5/5.
'Bruce Brechtbill' 4.0 / 4.4 / 4.4 Extremely dense, very symmetrical rounded plant. Shiny dark green leaves are extremely uniform in contour and placement. Occasional buds sometimes break after main growth to spoil perfection. Five flushes. Vegetative rating 5. Winter rating 4/4.
'Canadian Beauty' 4.3 / 3.4 / 3.3 Fairly open, somewhat irregular rounded shrub shows stems due to long new growths and ascending branches. Leaves of average color, acceptable slightly twisted contour, and acceptable somewhat irregular placement. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 3. Winter rating 5/5.
'Caroline' 2.3 / 2.2 / 2.3 Broad to rounded shrub of average density and symmetry shows some stems through irregularities. Unattractive deformed leaves are medium to light green. Leaves placed irregularly and spaced on long stems detract from plant. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 1. Winter rating 4/5.
'Chapeau' 4.0 / 3.2 / 3.3 Somewhat irregular rounded shrub of average density shows some stems through irregularities. Dull yellow crinkled leaves irregular in contour and placement detract from plant. Mildew and sunburn damage on leaves. Two to three flushes. Vegetative rating 2.
'Cherry Float' (not registered) 4.3 / 2.9 /3.9 Fairly dense symmetrical rounded plant tends to form a bare trunk. Shiny dark leaves with acceptable contour and placement, although old leaves tend to hang. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 3. Winter rating 3/5.
'China' 3.2 / 2.8 / 2.9 Open but fairly symmetrical rounded plant tends to form bare trunk and show stems through sparse foliage. Light green leaves of acceptable contour and placement. One flush. Vegetative rating 2. Winter rating 4/5.
'Coral Velvet' 2.7 / 3.2 / 2.9 Sparsely branched, irregular plant of equal height and spread shows bare branches and trunk between narrow leaves. Rolled, slightly bowed leaves of unequal sizes, but acceptable contour and placement. Average green leaves with grey indumentum beneath. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 2. Winter rating 5/4.
'Cunningham's Sulfur' x (lacteum x ...) (not registered) 3.2 / 2.8 / 2.9 Fairly open, sparsely branched somewhat irregular rounded plant. Fairly shiny average green leaves lack uniformity, with unattractive wavy, bowed contour. Irregular placement; hanging old leaves detract from plant. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 2. Winter rating 4/5.
'Edith Boulter' 4.2 / 3.8 / 4.1 Very dense, fairly symmetrical rounded plant. Leaves average green, with attractive very uniform leaf contour and placement. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 4. Winter rating 5/5.
'Exotic' 2.6 / 1.9 / 2.3 Somewhat dense, rather symmetrical rounded plant shows stems through sparse layer of leaves which are retained only one year. Dull somewhat chlorotic leaves have acceptable though somewhat crinkled contour and acceptable placement. One flush. Vegetative rating 2. Winter rating 4/4, frost burn.
'Fabia' x bureavii (not registered) 2.9 / 3.8 / 3.2 Fairly open somewhat irregular upright plant. Shiny dark green, slightly rolled leaves of acceptable contour and placement. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 4. Winter rating 5/5.
'Fireman Jeff 3.6 / 3.2 / 3.3 Fairly dense, somewhat irregular broad shrub. Average green leaves of acceptable although variable contour. Leaf placement detracts from plant due to lack of uniformity and hanging old leaves. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 3. Winter rating 5/5.
'Fred Robbins' 3.3 / 3.5 / 3.5 Rather dense, symmetrical rounded shrub. Dark green leaves of uniform contour and placement are attractive. Foliage susceptible to caterpillar damage. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 4. Winter rating 5/5.
'Freeman R. Stephens' 3.8 / 3.1 / 2.9 Open, fairly irregular shrub shows stems due to tendency to form bare trunk, sparse branching and thin layer of leaves. Dull yellowish leaves have acceptable contour and placement. One flush. Vegetative rating 2. Winter rating 4/5.
'Furnivall's Daughter' 3.9 / 2.6 / 3.1 Fairly dense rather symmetrical rounded plant. Light green leaves have unattractive very wavy contour but acceptable placement. Three flushes. Vegetative rating 2. Winter rating 5/5.
'Grace Seabrook' 3.8 / 4.1 / 4.1 Fairly dense and symmetrical broad shrub. Rather dull medium green leaves have acceptable contour and placement. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 3. Winter rating 2/5.
'Gretsel' 2.9 / 3.1 / 2.8 Open sparsely branching, somewhat irregular shrub of equal height and spread. Somewhat shiny dark green, but slightly chlorotic leaves. Acceptable but somewhat haphazard leaf contour and placement. Two flushes. Much inferior to Hansel. Flowers in September. Vegetative rating 2. Winter rating 4/4, frost burn.
'Halfdan Lem' 3.7 / 2.3 / 2.9 Open, sparsely branched, fairly irregular upright plant tends to form a bare trunk. Average green leaves of almost acceptable contour and placement are somewhat wavy. Old leaves hang conspicuously. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 2. Winter rating 5/5.
'Hallelujah', A.E., N.W., 4.2 / 4.3 / 4.3 Very dense highly symmetrical rounded plant. Dull very dark leaves have unusual "broken back" contour which is quite attractive due to the exceptional uniformity of contour and placement of the leaves. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 5. Winter rating 5/5.
'Hansel' (not registered) 3.4 / 4.3 / 3.6 Rounded shrub becomes dense and symmetrical with time. Very shiny dark green leaves are very attractive due to uniform, slightly rounded contour and neat placement. Three flushes. Better in every way than Gretsel. Vegetative rating 5. Winter rating 4/3, frost burn.

R. 'Hansel'
'Hansel'
Photo by Gwen Bell

'Hurricane' 3.7 / 3.5 / 3.4 Rather open, somewhat symmetrical rounded shrub shows stems due to long new growths. Average green leaves with acceptable but inconsistent contour. Irregular leave placement detracts from plant. Three flushes. Vegetative rating 3. Winter rating 4/5.
'Irresistible Impulse' (not registered) 4.0 / 2.8 / 3.5 Slightly dense rather irregular upright plant shows stems due to irregularities and stiffly ascending branches. Average green wavy leaves have acceptable contour and placement. Three flushes. Vegetative rating 2. Winter rating 3/5.
'Janet Scroggs' 3.3 / 2.8 / 2.8 Open, fairly irregular upright plant shows stems due to stiffly ascending branches. Medium green, slightly arched, twisted and rolled leaves have acceptable contour, irregular but acceptable placement. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 2. Winter rating 2/2.
'Juan de Fuca' 3.6 / 3.5 / 3.3 Fairly dense, rather irregular rounded shrub. Average green leaves have acceptable contour, but irregular leaf placement detracts from plant. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 3. Winter rating 5/5.
'Kubla Kahn' 4.0 / 2.3 / 2.9 Fairly dense rather symmetrical upright plant shows stems due to stiffly ascending branches. Dull yellowish chlorotic leaves have very unattractive crinkled contour but acceptable leaf placement despite hanging old leaves. Three flushes. Vegetative rating 2. Winter rating 4/3.
'Markeeta's Prize' 4.5 / 3.8 / 4.1 Fairly dense rather irregular rounded plant shows stems through irregularities and due to long new growths. Dark green leaves have wavy contour that detracts slightly from the plant. Uniform leaf placement is an asset to plant. Three flushes. Vegetative rating 4. Winter rating 5/5.

R. 'Markeeta's Prize'
'Markeeta's Prize'
Photo by Photo by Bill Heller

'Mary Fleming', A.E., 3.2 / 2.8 / 3.1 Rather open, irregular plant of equal height and spread. Dull reddish green leaves have variable but acceptable contour; irregular placement of unequal sized leaves detracts from plant. One flush. Vegetative rating 2. Winter rating 5/5.
'Melrose Pink' (not registered) 3.3 / 3.5 / 3.5 Fairly dense rather symmetrical broad shrub. Medium green leaves have attractive uniform contour, acceptable placement. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 4. Winter rating 4/5.
'Misty Moonlight' (not registered) 3.2 /3.2 / 2.7 Rather open fairly symmetrical broad shrub shows branches due to long new growths and sparse branching. Average green leaves have somewhat unattractive floppy puckered contour. Placement detracts from plant due to widely varying leaf size. Three flushes. Vegetative rating 2. Winter rating 5/5.
'Moonlight' x 'Crest' (not registered) 3.5 / 2.9 / 2.7 Very sparsely branched rather irregular plant of equal height and spread becomes sparser with time. Average green leaves have unattractive slightly arched, rolled, twisted contour. Irregular leaf placement detracts from plant. Old leaves hang, with burnt areas. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 1. Winter rating 3/3.
'Moonstone' x 'Mayday' (not registered) 2.9 / 2.5 / 2.6 Spreading shrub becomes fairly open and somewhat irregular. Average green leaves tend to detract from plant due to variable twisted contour, haphazardly placed leaves of variable size. One flush. Vegetative rating 2. Winter rating 5/3, frost burn.
'Nestucca' 4.0 / 3.3 / 3.6 Dense, fairly symmetrical broad shrub. Average green leaves very unattractive due to severely deformed shape. Leaf placement becomes quite attractive with time, despite variable leaf size. Three flushes. Vegetative rating 3. Winter rating 3/5.
'Pink Petticoats' 4.1 /3.1 /3.5 Fairly dense, rather symmetrical rounded shrub. Dull light green leaves tend to be chlorotic. Narrow, keeled, wavy leaf contour detracts slightly from plant; leaf placement acceptable. Three flushes. Vegetative rating 2. Winter rating 5/5.
'Ptarmigan' 2.7 / 3.7 / 3.5 Dense, symmetrical prostrate shrub shows some stems due to long new growths. Dark brownish green leaves have attractive uniform contour and placement, although leaves tend to be spaced on long new growths. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 4. Winter rating 5/5.
'Rocket' 3.4 / 3.6 / 3.3 Very upright rather irregular but fairly dense shrub has stiffly ascending branches which remain well clothed due to retention of four flushes. Somewhat shiny, fairly dark green leaves have acceptable quilted, variable contour. Placement of leaves spaced along new growths slightly unattractive. Vegetative rating 3. Winter rating 5/5.
'Shah Jehan' x yakushimanum (not registered) 3.5 / 3.3 / 3.4 Broad, fairly open shrub becomes quite symmetrical in time, although stems show due to sparse branching. Dull rather dark green leaves have somewhat unattractive rolled and twisted contour and haphazard placement. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 3. Winter rating 3/3.
'Skipper' 3.3/2.4/2.6 Fairly dense but irregular spreading shrub shows stems through irregularities. Average green wavy leaves have acceptable contour and placement. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 3. Winter rating 5/5.
'Tickled Pink' (not registered) 3.5 / 3.3 / 3.5 Slightly irregular, fairly open rounded shrub. Average green leaves with variable wavy contour and haphazard placement detract somewhat from plant. ' Two flushes. Vegetative rating 3. Winter rating 5/5, frost burn.
'Top Hat' (not registered) 3.5 / 3.3 / 3.2 Very dense, symmetrical upright shrub. Average green wavy leaves tend to be chlorotic with acceptable contour and placement. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 4. Winter rating 4/5.
'Trula' 3.6 / 2.7 / 2.9 Fairly open, somewhat irregular broad shrub shows stems due to sparse branching and its tendency to form a bare trunk. Average green leaves detract slightly from plant due to rolled, crinkled, twisted contour and irregular leaf placement. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 2. Winter rating 5/5.
'Vicki Reine' 2.8 / 2.4 / 2.4 Open irregular shrub of equal height and breadth shows branches due to long new growth and sparse branching. Dull light green chlorotic leaves have unattractive crinkled and generally irregular contour. Hanging old leaves detract somewhat from plant. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 1. Winter rating 4/5, frost burn.
'Virginia Richards' 3.7 / 3.4 / 3.5 Fairly dense and symmetrical rounded shrub. Slightly shiny somewhat dark green leaves have acceptable slightly convex contour and acceptable leaf placement but tend to get leaf spot that looks like mildew. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 3. Winter rating 4/4.
'Whitney's Dwarf Red' (not registered) 2.9 / 3.1 / 3.1 Fairly symmetrical broad to prostrate shrub becomes quite dense. Dark green, fairly shiny leaves have unattractive twisted contour but acceptable placement. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 3. Winter rating 4/4.
'Whitney's Red' (not registered) 3.3 / 3.4 / 3.2 Becomes fairly symmetrical and dense rounded shrub. Dark green leaves have attractive uniform contour and placement. Three flushes. Vegetative rating 4. Winter rating 5/5.
yakushimanum x 'Mrs. Furnivall' (not registered) 3.7 / 3.2 / 3.4 Fairly open and irregular rounded shrub show stems due to irregular and sparse branching. Slightly shiny and dark green leaves have acceptable contour and placement. Three flushes. Vegetative rating 3. Winter rating 5/5.
yakushimanum x 'Mrs. Lammot Copeland'(not registered) 3.6/2.8/3.8 Fairly symmetrical rounded shrub becomes somewhat dense, tends to show branches due to stiffly ascending branches and long new growths. Average green leaves have acceptable slightly rounded contour. Leaf placement detracts slightly from plant due to hanging old leaves and spacing of leaves along long new growths. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 2. Winter rating 3/5.
yakushimanum x 'Noyo Chief (not registered) 3.3 / 3.3 / 3.4 Fairly dense and symmetrical broad shrub tends to show stems between narrow leaves. Dull dark green leaves have acceptable rounded bowed contour. Placement of hanging old leaves detracts from plant. Three flushes. Vegetative rating 3. Not nearly as good as 'Noyo Brave'. Winter rating 4/4.
yakushimanum x 'Ken Janeck' 3.1 / 3.1 / 3.2 Dense symmetrical rounded shrub. Dark green leaves with grey juvenile indumentum. Uniform narrow rolled bowed leaves form pleasing pattern. Three flushes. Vegetative rating 3. Winter rating 3/3, frost burn.
'YM-3' (not registered) 2.4 / 2.9 / 2.8 Rather dense symmetrical rounded shrub tends to form a bare trunk. Dull light green leaves tend to burn. Acceptable contour and attractive uniform placement, except that old leaves tend to hang. Two flushes. Vegetative rating 3. Winter rating 3/3, frost burn.
'York' x 'Corona' (not registered) 3.1 / 4.0 / 3.6 Fairly dense and symmetrical broad shrub tends to show stems due to narrow leaves and long new growths. Average green leaves have grey juvenile indumentum. Acceptable leaf contour and placement. Three flushes. Vegetative rating 4. Winter rating 4/4.

References
Halligan, J. P. (1989) The Meerkerk Hybrid Test Garden. J. Am. Rhod. Soc. 43(3): 145-149, 163-170.


Volume 45, Number 2
Spring 1991

DLA Ejournal Home | JARS Home | Table of Contents for this issue | Search JARS and other ejournals